JOE (JOE's own editor) is an underrated editor

Many people in our circles advocate for the use of Vim/Vi or Emacs because of the extensibility and efficient workflow. Unfortunately they advocate for said editors claiming they are the only ones being in any way efficient. An editor showing how false that assumption is, is JOE. JOE is similar to the older Borland Turbo editor and people who have liked the latter will surely feel like home.

Actually JOE is not one, but many editors, including Emacs, Wordstar and more. It can be edited with its configuration file, that you’ll find in /etc/joe/joerc and can copy to $HOME/.joerc (on Unix).
For help press Ctrl-K+H and for settings press Ctrl-T. In the joerc you can select a color scheme (zenburn, wombat, ir_black, molokai, gruvbox and more). Just press Ctrl-T, head to the Color Scheme button, press, press tab and voila you have all the color schemes you can choose. That trick with tab works everywhere in the settings.

Similar to Vim, you can select a text, in JOE that works by default with Ctrl+Arrowkey. The region selected can be edited with a variety of commands. There are a handful commands on moving around: Ctrl-X for next word and Ctrl-Z for last word. Ctrl-KV for bottom of the file and Ctrl-KU for top of the file.

Syntax highlighting is supported too. And it is free software, so just edit something into it if you desire a feature. It works with Windows API, OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Minix3 and of course Linux.

Joe website
OpenBSD ports
FreeBSD ports
Arch Linux AUR (its not available in the default repos)
Debian package


great suggestion! thank you

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joe is very powerful and can be a good choice.
There is one feature which is very useful in an editor and that is the ability to highlight some text and have it sent as input to a script which returns an output to replace the original text. The script can be a shell script, a ruby or python script, or any command such as uniq.

This feature is wonderful for dissecting obfuscated javascript for example.

  • parsing obfuscated javascript to add back space and formatting
  • evaluating an expression to replace it with the result
  • wrapping text in a tag
  • un/escaping HTML or XML or uri components
  • encode/decode base64 or hex

I have only found this feature in one editor (Geany) but I’d be interested if anyone can mention any other editor that can do this.

gonna use this for my gnu/linux distro

The only console text editor I know (half how to use) is nano. I might try JOE. But if navigation is similar to VI/VIM I will get lost :rofl:

Oh, it looks a little bit outdated. Is it still being developed?

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